Reigning It In

Even before receiving a rebuke on Vision 2020 and a bitterly angry off-list note from another Visionaire, I came to the conclusion that I had, indeed, crossed the line in some of what I’d said on that forum about Sarah Palin. I won’t reprint here what I wrote there, other than to say that I used words like “incurious, narrow-minded, intellectually sluggish, ethically deficient” in describing her, and I tried to contrast that list of traits, for which she is entirely responsible for improving, with what I think are out-of-bounds comments — if, for example, someone were to say she was a terrorist, stupid, ugly, a bad mom, or drug pusher.

It didn’t work. Some readers of Vision 2020 were still offended by what I had say, and so it’s clear to me that I need to pull it back.

Let me put it another way: I’ve said things that make some other people believe I’ve been hypocritical in my testimony for the Gospel, specifically in my criticism of the Religious Right’s treatment of the Barack Obama. It doesn’t matter if they’re right, it doesn’t matter if my comments about Palin are right. There is one thing that matters to me, and that’s that I not malign the Gospel. If I give reason — valid reason — for someone to question the sincerity of my faith, or to call me up on hypocrisy or inconsistency in living it out, any other political point I make has to become secondary.

It is necessary these days to speak strongly, and coupled with the offense to a fallen world of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s likely that people will feel put off or ticked off by strong language. I can’t help that; I can’t decline to speak out because I might offend someone. I can, though, be more judicious about what I say so that I don’t offend someone gratuitously, and I will try.

My prayer is that when I get it right, the glory goes to God, and when I don’t, it reflects only on me.

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